WikiLeaks Running Out of Money, Finds Loophole in Visa/MasterCard Blockade

The whistle-blower site spent nearly $302,450 in the first six months of 2012, but only took in $40,230

WikiLeaks said it is running low on money and blamed Visa and MasterCard for prohibiting users from donating to the site.

The transparency activist website's cash reserves fell from $983,600 in Decemeber 2010 to less than $122,650 at the end of June, the site said in a statement Wednesday. 

But now the site, founded by controversial former hacker Julian Assange, who is fighting extradition from England to Sweden where he faces sexual misconduct charges, hopes to circumvent a blockade on donations from Visa and MasterCard through an account with French credit card system Carte Blue, which is coupled with the two American credit giants.

Also read: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Appeal Dismissed by British Supreme Court

Last year, the two credit card giants began blocking all payments to WikiLeaks from their cards after the site came under investigation from the federal government following the released of more than 250,000 secret State Department cables.

The statement said the French non-profit Fund for the Defense of Net Neutrality set up a Carte Bleue fund for WikLeaks.

"WikiLeaks advises all global supporters to make use of this avenue immediately before Visa/MasterCard attemps to shut it down," the press release said.

From January to June, WikiLeaks said it spent nearly $302,450, but only collected $40,230 in donations and said it will run out of cash in a few months.

"We are forced to put all our efforts into raising funds to ensure our economic survival," the site said on its homepage. "For almost a year we have been fighting an unlawful financial blockade. We cannot allow giant U.S. finance companies to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket."

The Wau Holland Foundation, a German group that processes WikiLeaks' bills, said in a two-page financial report released Wednesday that the site spent about $24,560 on "infrastructure," mostly on software; $128,670 on "campaigns," including about $632 on "journalist contextualization"; about $119,815 on "logistics"; $21,940 on "legal advice" and $7,507 on "administration."

Chart via Wau Holland Foundation